Can United cause an upset in the Manchester Derby?

Published on 29 October 2023 at 11:00

The eagerly anticipated Manchester derby looms on Sunday for strangely enough what will be a 15:30pm kick off. Will Guardiola’s dominant City team wipe the floor with an extremely inconsistent Manchester United or can Ten Hag help United pull off what would be a shock win, given their poor start to the season.

The elephant in the room prior to this mammoth game is the unusual kick off time. Super Sunday on Sky sports usually consists of one or more games kicking off at 14:00pm and then one game starting at 16:30pm. The decision to have the game start at 15:30pm was made after discussions between the two clubs, local authorities and the broadcasters, Sky Sports. The media have been largely left in the dark as to the genuine reason, or reasons for the change in kick off time. United recently released a statement simply addressing that the game had been brought forward to 15:30 as opposed 16:30 but didn’t specify the exact reason. 

Thus, everyone has been left somewhat in the dark as to the real reason, with some speculating that a Fall Out Boy concert at the AO Arena (Manchester) which starts at 19:30 the reason. The earlier kick off could be the result of an attempt to stop a big crowd clash with the football fans leaving the game and people arriving for the concert.

Two of the biggest teams in the land will lock horns in what has the makings of a box office clash this Sunday afternoon. Despite City winning five of the last six Premier League titles, the head-to-head record between the two Manchester giants has been surprisingly close. With City having won five of the last ten games, and United winning four, with the teams playing out one draw. Perhaps a glimmer of hope for United will be Man City’s recent blip in their usual formidable form. The Citizens have lost three domestic games already this season, two in the league, and one in the league cup to Newcastle United. City have however, won four games on the spin and seem to be picking up some form just at the right time. As for United, they have not yet got out of second gear this season, for whatever reason The Red Devils haven’t got going at all this season. A few, perhaps, lucky late Old Trafford comebacks against Brentford and Nottingham Forest are the only reason they sit 8th in the league. In the Champions League United lost their first two games and looked to be in a perilous position, but a win in midweek against Copenhagen has got their European campaign off and running. It has the makings of an explosive fixture, with both teams desperate for the three points for very different reason.

Despite United winning their last 3 games, the performances still haven’t been there. Ten Hag has not yet got his team playing well and this will certainly be a worry going into the Manchester derby where they will come up against the formidable force of Manchester City. Despite this, there are still positives for United, mainly being their pace on the counterattack, which has so often been key to getting results against their noisy neighbours.

Rashford, Antony and Rasmus Hojlund in particular pose United’s biggest threat on the counter with Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings behind. If the Portuguese midfielder decides to turn up, United could have a day of many chances, however Bruno has been somewhat underwhelming so far this season. 


United have struggled in front of goal this season with Hojlund yet to score in the Premier League and Rashford and Antony have also yet to hit any kind of form.

City, on the other hand, have been free scoring and vibrant in front of goal this season, with Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku putting up very good numbers in the absence of Belgian ace De Bruyne. Haaland has recently picked up his inhumane goalscoring form again too – which will certainly be a major worry for the red side of Manchester. 


With Harry Maguire shining in the last few games, including scoring the winner against Copenhagen in the Champions League in midweek, will he start? Ten Hag has tended to lean towards Lindelöf to partner Varane during the time Martinez has been injured, but as of late, the manager has picked the England international in the starting line-up. Andre Onana had a night to remember on Tuesday too, saving a last-minute penalty to give his team their first win of their Champions League campaign. United will be pleased there is some confidence and perhaps stability in their back line – which has been lacking all season. 

Manchester City will hope they are firing on all cylinders come Sunday afternoon, as there are many supporters from The Red Devils fanbase sensing an upset is on the cards. Come Sunday at 15:30 both teams fans will learn a lot about their team and what is to come for the rest of the season, especially with Manchester United.


Written by Carrick Galbraith

Twitter - @carrickgalb123

Instagram - @carrick.426_

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